The Oxford dictionary defines ‘love’ as ‘an intense feeling of deep affection’. The association of love with Valentine’s Day didn’t happen until after the 14th century. In more recent times, it’s like a season of love that follows Christmas and New Year. However, there’s no reason to stress or fret. All we need is love in our hearts. And a little churro now and then doesn’t hurt! Chetana Parameswar shows us how to make these totally irresistible (vegan-friendly) churro hearts.
Churro is a culinary treat from Spain. The Spanish churros are thin, sometimes knotted or long and thick. They are also called porras or jeringos. They are perfect for breakfast with some cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top and dipped in hot chocolate, dulce de leche or café con leche. In Portugal, churros are called porra and fartura and are filled with jelly instead of the doce de leite. Read more about Churros and their origin here.
Ingredients for the churro dough
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (minus one tablespoon, if using cocoa powder)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (As an alternative to the cocoa powder, you can use a food colour of your choice or leave them plain, in which case one doesn’t need to take away the tablespoon of flour. Either way, they’re just delicious!)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Oil for deep frying
- To coat the churros, 1/4 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Ingredients for the chocolate sauce
- 50 grams cooking chocolate (I used the dark, dairy-free variety)
- 1/3 cup plant-based milk (or regular milk/ cream)
- 1/2 teaspoon cooking oil
- Sieve and whisk the flour and cocoa powder together and set aside.
- If making the chocolate sauce, cut the chocolate into small chunks.
- Add the chocolate chunks and other ingredients for the sauce to a microwave-safe bowl or a smaller pot, if using the double boiler method. Set this aside, ready to make once the churros are fried.
- In a pot, put in the water, oil, salt and sugar and set on high heat.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add in the food colour and stir (if using), shut the heat and move the pot to a coaster.
- Pour the flour and cocoa powder mixture and stir in quickly till the flour mixture absorbs all the water and comes together like a dough ball.
- Lightly grease a plate or clean kneading surface and put the dough ball onto that.
- Keep a pot with the oil for frying on medium heat.
- When the dough is warm enough to handle, knead for a minute or two till it forms a smooth dough ball. Work quickly as the churro dough is best piped when warm. Kneading is an important step to take out large air pockets in the dough and helps with smoother piping.
- Now use a sturdy reusable piping bag with a closed star piping tip for piping the dough. The thin disposable piping bags are most likely to burst. I recommend using a cookie press if you have one.
- Pipe the dough onto a lightly greased plate or a baking tray lined with parchment paper, in straight lines of approximately equal length. If you’re a newbie at making churros, I would recommend using a lined baking tray.
- Also, set a plate or shallow bowl with cinnamon sugar or sugar of your preference, depending on your preference for coating the churros (optional, but traditionally done).
- Once you have piped a few lines, shape these into a heart shape (optional). This can be done by joining the ends of the straight line to form a circle. Now shape the side curves of the heart. Stretch the centre lightly and give the end a little squeeze. And you’ll achieve a perfect heart shape. I suggest the line-shaped churros for a first trial as it’s the best way of piping the dough before it gets cold.
- Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping in a tiny bit of dough, it should rise up quickly.
- Then you can carefully drop a few hearts into fry. The churros fry quickly. Flip once and take them out onto a plate lined with kitchen tissue to soak up the extra oil. The churros should be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Coat the churros with the cinnamon sugar (if used) and set onto a serving platter.
- My tip for newbies would be to pipe all the churro dough as quickly as possible and work on it at one stretch if possible. And then fry them. Once the churro dough gets cold, it gets much harder to pipe it.
- If the churro dough does get cold, one can pop it into the microwave (using a microwave-safe bowl) for about 20-30 seconds and give it a try. Put the dough back into the piping bag or cookie press and start piping again. However, it definitely gets harder than the first time around.
- Once the churros are fried and ready, you can quickly make the chocolate sauce.
- If using the microwave-safe bowl, pop the ingredients set aside earlier into the microwave in 10-second spurts and mix till it comes together like a smooth sauce.
- If using the double boiler method, fill the pot below with water and set it on high heat. Now set the smaller pot above with all the ingredients set aside earlier on top of the other pot. The hot water will make the chocolate melt and mix all the ingredients with a small whisk till they come together like a smooth sauce.
- Pour the dipping sauce into a small serving bowl and serve immediately with the warm churros.
Do not be intimidated by the steps. Churros are after all happiness that you can eat. So go ahead and spread that happiness. Have a wonderful V-Day with your special ones!
Disclaimer: Opinions and methods expressed are solely of the writer. Namaste Switzerland does not undertake any obligation or liability which may arise from the content.